Images, Emotions, and Credibility: Effect of Emotional Facial Images on Perceptions of News Content Bias and Source Credibility in Social Media

02/25/2021 ∙ by Alireza Karduni, et al. ∙ 0

Images are an indispensable part of the news content we consume. Highly emotional images from sources of misinformation can greatly influence our judgements. We present two studies on the effects of emotional facial images on users' perception of bias in news content and the credibility of sources. In study 1, we investigate the impact of happy and angry facial images on users' decisions. In study 2, we focus on sources' systematic emotional treatment of specific politicians. Our results show that depending on the political orientation of the source, the cumulative effect of angry facial emotions impacts users' perceived content bias and source credibility. When sources systematically portray specific politicians as angry, users are more likely to find those sources as less credible and their content as more biased. These results highlight how implicit visual propositions manifested by emotions in facial expressions might have a substantial effect on our trust of news content and sources.

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